Our India adventure came to an end. It was amazing. Sometimes extreme. Mostly intense. However, never, NEVER boring! We are really grateful for this wonderful opportunity and to amazing people we met. An unforgettable 3000 km trip ended and we are ready to begin a new chapter of our story – Thailand. It won’t be so intense, we want to rest a bit with a drink in our hand and watch sunset on a beach. But first, we need to get there! Off we go!
Good bye, India!
It was high time we left Varkala. One more day and probably we would stay there for good. And so, another train travel went by and we arrived to Chennai, greeted by our new host from Couchsurfing – Bhasker. There is not much to see in the city as well as we were quite exhausted after weeks of travel through India so we happily stayed in one place for the next days. We walked around a bit, of course, but mostly just to do shopping. Fortunately, the supermarket and some other venues accepted card payment so we didn’t suffer too much from cash shortage.
We happily did nothing else to the last day and after that we took a ride to the airport. The contrast between wealth and poverty doesn’t cease to amaze me, though. When we arrived to the airport we could see everything was new and Western-style. The prices too, a cappuccino there costs roughly the amount of all the chai I got in India put together. ^^ Anyway, after a month in this country we realised that we actually missed some luxury. Quite a lot, honestly.
The day of our travel was definitely a bad day for Niki. Her clumsiness was almost as big as mine what gave us an additional thrill to the flight. First, during repacking she checked our backpack thoroughly, one pocket excluded. Nothing would be a problem if the pocket contained trash only. However, there was one extra item – our Swiss-army knife. We tried to conceal it through check in but the security found it right away through an X-ray machine. We were very upset as Niki really likes this knife, not to mention it was quite expensive.
Nevertheless, we were pretty surprised when a security guard told us not to throw it away but… to run to the check-in and try to shove it in our big luggage! This never happened before! So, equipped with a Visa card and a boarding pass with a note from security (normally you can’t leave a duty-free zone after check in) I ran to try and get our big luggage. In the meantime, I passed next to the perfect example of being over-politically-correct. Differently abled? Really?
Anyhoo, I got to the counter but to my terror, the man told me that it’s impossible to get our luggage back. Well, of course it’s not, silly! It’s already stacked with tons of other bags, backpacks and suitcases. BUT, the staff at the airport rescued poor stupid European – the guy told me to check in our small backpack with no additional fee. Awesome! I took out necessary stuff and our knife could travel safely! Yay! Niki was so happy! :) So we went to grab something to eat and waited for the flight.
Yet, it wasn’t the end, Niki proved herself worth my forgetfulness. While I ran to save our knife I quickly told her to grab the coins and the phone from the X-ray conveyor belt. Well, she did take the coins. After some time we realised none of us had the phone. We left it at the security gate. So we ran again, only to find it was there, waiting, with security guards laughing at us. :) All is well that ends well.
Fortunately, with no additional adventures we boarded the plane and said our goodbyes with India. It was a great adventure! Now Thailand awaits us!
One night in Bangkok
Well, actually two. I made a mistake and booked our bus ticket one night later than initially expected. Oh well.
Still, we arrived in Bangkok after a three-hour flight and, because of a different time zone we landed at 3 AM. After short fight with local bank terminals and ridiculous ATM charges we got ourselves a SIM card with Internet access. After that we found a ride to the hostel and at approximately 5AM we were there. The owner of the place slept on a couch specifically to let us in which was very nice of him. Finally, we could lay on a bed and go to sleep.
The next morning was my rabies-vaccine day so we had to get to the hospital. The nearest one was located 2km away so without hesitation we decided to take a walk and also see how the city looked like.
We were quite pleasantly surprised to notice that the capitol of Thailand is quite clean (in comparison to India), busy but not Armageddon-like and people definitely stared less at us. It was nice to walk on the pavements and observe people live.
Apart from some extraordinary views, like turtles in bowls (our humanitarian/vegan side screamed in terror), people appeared to live quite similarly to Europeans. Okay, maybe it’s a bit of an exaggeration, but after some places in India, Bangkok certainly looked more… Well, civilised.
Also it turns out that the Thai King died recently, so our walk was full of views like black ribbons on the walls or pinned to peoples’ chest. Our Uber ride from the airport had a black ribbon attached to the car image in the app. Apparently, Thai people were very fond of their King and the loss was very hard for them. It was interesting to see folk so attached to their monarch and very difficult for us to understand – we could never grow attached to monarchs, politicians or any authority for that matter. However, after reading some articles on Wikipedia we learned that there are different opinions on his reign (which was really long – 70 years!).
After a vaccine for which we paid roughly 4 times more than in India we decided to grab something to eat. Niki, still very distrustful to street food, requested a restaurant but unfortunately, all of them were closed for something similar to siesta. We managed to grab some barbecued bananas, though, as well as some chips and a coconut.
It was of a different taste than in India, sweeter and more intense. It was really funny to watch Niki struggling with the inside. :) She was so cute and helpless that a lady took her half and scrubbed the flesh for her. ^^
The food turns out to be really good here. Also, hygiene conditions are far better than in India. Even street vendors wear gloves and apparently clean everything, more or less. Unfortunately, Thailand is more expensive than India – amount of Bahts the same but 1 Baht = 2 Rupees. Oh well. Also, being vegetarian turns out to be close to impossible in Thailand. Meat is everywhere, on every food stand, in every restaurant, around every corner.
By the way, we stay in a really nice Hostel. The name is JC House and if you drop by to Bangkok you should definitely pay a visit. The owner is really nice (he waited for us until 5 AM!), beds are very clean (although mattresses are plank-hard) and there is AC in the bedroom for the night so it’s way better to sleep there. The huge advantage is that it looks quite new and the prices are very low (2 beds in dormitory – 8€ per night). The hostel is well equipped with a friendly cat which immediately loves you, as well as with clean bathroom with hot water showers (but who needs them in 35 degrees?! – I DO! – shouted Niki)
In the evening we went for a food hunt. Niki grew more and more hungry and I also wanted to munch on something. We took a walk in the direction suggested by the hostel owner. We couldn’t do better. In the afternoon Niki told me she was a bit disappointed with Bangkok as she expected food stands, markets, lanterns and lots of colours everywhere and we experienced just a regular huge metropolis. Her opinion changed, as well as mine, when we got to Rambuttri Alley. In the evening the street looked so pretty, lit with lanterns, vibrant with colours and full of people it gave us the feeling of Bangkok of time before being a huge city.
Our camera sucked big time with this lighting but at least we tried. We also tried amazing food there and I even tempted (persuaded) Niki to try some local food. We had some chicken noodle soup (Thai style) and she had to admit it wasn’t that bad. Still, I appreciated it very much as every try from her side in India ended up with coughing and drinking half a bottle of water due to spiciness. To satisfy our sweet tooth we bought ourselves delicious coconut ice-cream and headed back to the hostel.
As a last stop of this full of events day we decided to visit a Buddhist temple nearby. The past and present coincide all the time in Bangkok and as such, the beautiful temple was surrounded by modern cars and buildings, completely impassive to time passing by. We were lucky to walk in during the time of prayers. The chants flew through the air and the feeling was immensely peaceful. We backed away slowly and decided it was a good moment to head to the hostel and go to sleep.
So this is it. We completed our trip through India and started a new chapter – Thailand. After that we will go… Back to Germany. Why so? We decided there is no point in losing Christmas season in Europe. Therefore, we shall work through the 4 weeks preceding Christmas and after New Year’s Eve we will come back to Asia. Maybe also we shall visit Tenerife for a month to rest and train. Anybody for a meetup? Or maybe cities we should visit with nice Christmas Markets? Share and comment! Ciao! :)